It looks like its back…..
In my youth, there was a bitter east coast/west coast war waged between rival rap labels in the US. Each coast had its own style of rap and what started out as a battle for the public attention became personal and levied at the individuals who were on the opposing coast. Naturally, it didn’t take much in the way of crossed swords to spiral into something far more volatile than it needed to be.
As a music fan, I had grown up loving the music coming out of each coast and yet all of a sudden that wasn’t acceptable. As a listener growing up in the hardknock streets of Rowlands Gill (a small picturesque former mining village in the Derwent Valley), I was encouraged to pick a side. It meant showing any form of respect for one side, was a diss to the other. I think we can all see how pathetic this was. It meant that some years later, I went back and started exploring the music which came out of the east coast during those years, as Id avoided them at the time.
I had thought the circles I was in had matured beyond that.
And yet here we are. Garret Oliver states that he thinks NE IPA’s wont stay in vogue forever, he’s quoted as calling them a fad, and all of sudden the defences go up. Battle lines are drawn.
But take a step back. Im a lover of the west coast IPA. As I stated in my last post, I don’t feel able to judge if Im a fan of NE IPA’s. I would say that I have had some great examples and Ive enjoyed a great many facets of them. My only stopping point is that I prefer a good quality west coast style IPA. At no point have I ever criticised NEIPA’s, they are brilliant and I do drink them. Full stop. No but on the end of that sentence.
My love of West Coast IPAs is in part more entrenched than simply being a lover of the current style. There are a million west coast IPAs out there that just don’t do it for me either. They don’t quite hit the point of just what Im after in the style of beer.
And you know what?! That’s OK! Those same beers could be just perfect for someone else’s tastes. There’s a reason not all beer is the same.
I used to have a black and white telly, the programmes sounded the same but the world was far more enticing when viewed in colour. Allowing more elements to make up what youre looking at is a wonderful thing.
Everyone is allowed an opinion, but more than that, we’ll all be much better off opening our eyes and ears to take on board a variety of opinions. I want to walk into a bottle shop and to be presented with a vast array of beers. The broader the array the better. If each beer reaches a different drinker and brings them all together into that pub to talk, then we’ll all learn from each other and be far better off.
So don’t criticise NEIPAs, they add to our vocabulary. And similarly, a love of NEIPA doesn’t mean that you have to hate on those who love West Coast IPAs. And you know what, lovers of hop forward beer styles, don’t have to ‘hate’ those who like to drink dark beers. Drinking establishments put a range of beers on the bar so that they can appeal to a broad range of people. A different beer for every taste is the aim, while that’s not always possible, the wider the range the better.
I fully understand Cloudwater defending their chosen beer style. They’re a brewery doing great things and they have had a significant impact on the UK beer scene, and for the better too. I don’t love every beer they do though. I love their Stouts. I think the grisette is an incredible beer, and while they’re known for their DIPAs, I happen to have had a better experience with their IPA range. Perhaps thats an expectation v experience thing.
Sadly though, I’ve seen far too many reactions to the Cloudwater post along the lines of belittling those who don’t love NEIPAs. I don’t for a second believe that Paul wanted that. This is an industry that grows best through collaboration. Where differences are valued. Apply that degree of acceptance to the fact that different people have different tastes and we’ll all get along.